Pre-emptive maintenance is considered to be the most effective, not just in terms of costs but in reducing liabilities. Vehicles have an average of anything upwards of 30,000 parts. This is considerable by any standard. While the design and manufacture of vehicles have advanced to a level where the chances of failure within the lifecycle of components are low, it is not altogether eliminated. This is exactly why fleet inspection is mandatory. Here are some quick facts that will be of great use in fleet inspection.

Component fatigue/tolerance levels nearing end of lifecycle

While  components are typically expected to function without problems till the completion of lifecycle, there are instances of excessive wear and tear. Manufacturers generally factor in an additional period when fixing the lifecycle, and recommend replacement before end of the lifecycle. However, at times due to one or a combination of many factors components may fail or underperform before the end of lifecycle. This will have a bearing on the performance of other components that work in tandem with it. It is therefore necessary to carry out period inspections to check for component malfunction.

IoT and M2M communication

Advanced models of vehicles rely on IoT and M2M for updates on performance of components. Event based triggers are relayed to machines, transmitting performance statistics for machine driven analytics, helping software to send actionable information to dealers and service centres. Intimation about dates for replacement of parts can be transmitted automatically without the need for manual checking. Tesla cars have updated software on models “over the air”, without the need for owners to drive their cars to a garage or service centre. While this may help fleet managers in the future, it will still mandate the need for a comprehensive fleet inspection periodically.

Checklist based inspection

An inspection can be considered comprehensive and complete only when it is carried out with a checklist. This will not only ensure that a record of the inspection is maintained, it will also fully meet the objectives. A checklist will ensure that the inspection is carried out in methodical manner which will help to understand and identify a faulty mechanism or component. For instance, if a particular component is underperforming, it may also be likely that its underperformance is due to another component that works in tandem with it. It is therefore necessary to carry out the inspection in a methodical manner so as to identify the faults.

Pick advanced software for fleet inspection

Software that is used for fleet inspection has its task cut out. It needs to offers solutions on two different dimensions. The first is the analytics of the performance of components. This could be a tech driven process or a part manual part tech driven process. Regardless of the process, it needs to follow a certain sequence. The recording of faults and observations needs to be simplified and codified so as to prevent

confusion or mistakes during interpretation. The information then needs to be transmitted in manner that is actionable. The reports need to be actionable. On the basis of reports, it should be easy for a fleet manager to carry out preventive maintenance.  The records need to be maintained in a format that permits easy retrieval and fixing of responsibility if recommendations have not been followed.

Fleet inspections can help businesses perform better. Regardless of the nature of operations, transportation, logistics and supply chains hinge on the serviceability and availability of vehicles. It pays to have the vehicles in ship shape and it is therefore necessary for fleet managers to carry out preventive maintenance and fleet inspection periodically. The use of software for fleet inspection is the only way forward, considering the costs and the time involved. Choose the right Fleet management software and the solution will begin to fall into place smoothly.

Technology driven inspection

The latest technology in the automotive sector has been the use of analytics that check out various metrics of a car and give the service engineers a good idea about the performance. Processes which took days earlier to identify a fault are now being completed in hours, largely as a result of the technology driven processes.  Fleet inspection that relies on such software will certainly improve the quality of the inspection in addition to speeding up the process. The accuracy of the inspection helps service engineers to tackle the issue quickly, and get the vehicle back on the road as early as possible.

Tank calibration

The calibration of fuel tanks used to be a very time consuming process and this not only took up the time of the vehicles and the drivers, it also blocked the pump where the calibration is conducted. Typically calibration of tanks of trucks took upwards of five hours and filling stations agreed to the calibration, out of compelling reasons. Trucks in commercial operations needed to be calibrated, and refusing to co-operate may sometimes result in fleets using the services of other pumps for filling and calibration.  The advent of telematics and calibration systems have helped fleet managers to quickly calibrate the tanks in minutes without having to place requests with petrol pumps.

Preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance has always been a cost effective option. By understanding the condition of a component and rectifying the fault, fleet managers are in a position to prevent breakdowns while on a delivery. Roadside assistance is not only expensive, it can cause delays that will be costly in the long run. A client expecting a consignment will view a delay as serious, despite the unavoidable nature of it. As a result, it is highly possible that loss of reputation may result in loss of future business. This is precisely why it is necessary to carry out preventive maintenance periodically. And fleet inspections are the best method to understand the need for preventive maintenance and component replacement.

Compliance aspect

Compliance is another important aspect that needs to be borne in mind. Fleet managers are mandated to ensure that the fleets are compliant with inspection norms. This will not only improve reputation, it will also ensure that regulatory authorities will continue to classify the fleet as compliant. Various regulations are in place for compliance and fleets that maintain records of inspections and subsequent preventive repairs are more likely to find themselves rated high. A set process will help fleet managers to carry out inspections on time, and as per a sequence to keep the fleet in top shape.

Safety inspections between service cycles

A normal inspection cycle of a truck averaged between 12000 to 15000 miles and then progressively moved to 20000 miles after subsequent services.  While the servicing would by and large take care of all the technical requirements, periodic inspections between the service cycles can help prevent breakdowns enroute. The vagaries of nature, the type of roads and the probable performance of components under given conditions may create a recipe for a breakdown. And this is precisely why it is necessary for periodic fleet inspections to unearth problems that may arise. The safety inspections between cycles of servicing are an important facet of vehicle maintenance.

Shahid Mansuri

Shahid Mansuri Co-founded Peerbits, one of the leading Top mobile application development company USA, in 2011. Top companies hire android app developers which have been groomed under his visionary leadership and flamboyant management style which have yield fruitful results for the company. He believes in sharing his strong knowledge base with learned concentration on entrepreneurship and business.

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